Friday, August 26, 2016

Orange You Glad for Summer Drinks?

A rare spot of color amidst all the white. Found this on the way to the Viking Ship Museum on the Bygd√ły peninsula. We had to take a short ferry out to the peninsula and then walk for a bit to get to the museum. 
They estimate the ship was built about 890 A.D.

It's in remarkable for shape for something over a thousand years old.
Loved the shadows on the walls.

~~~~~~~~~~

Our end of summer gathering was fairly well attended tonight at a co-worker's gorgeous, large, old Victorian home. Most of my co-workers were able to come and we ate pizza and cupcakes and tried orange creamsicle margaritas. While we quickly drank sipped our yummy drinks, we talked about all the things that happen in a small town. Laughed at some of the antics of the more colorful people in our lives. Toasted the end of a successful summer reading program at all levels, kids to adults. And sipped some more creamy, orange-y drink.

Those margaritas were delicious on a hot summer night.

And you thought all librarians did was shush people.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dem Bones

Had to squeeze in a visit to the whale bones since this was the last trip to the beach for all of us together. 

We've been visiting these bones for a long time. I think I have a photo of J and K standing under these whale bones from the time they were wee little ones.

This year we brought along a sombrero. K had it in the back of her trunk. Along with a couple pair of heels. She's a party to go, that one.

~~~~~~~~~~

As soon as J saw that sombrero, I knew it was all over. 
They love pictures like this. You know, ones that show how much they all love each other?
I love E's face in these photos. She can't look crazy even when she tries.
That's more like it.

Cousin love.

~~~~~~~~~~

Personal accomplishment this weekend...I finally read "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" after all these years.

I've been getting a lot of grief this summer from my children and my nieces about being a librarian and not having read this book so I figured it was time to tackle it. I tried reading it when the book first came out and found it to be a simple children's story. It did not hold my interest.

I couldn't get into it. At all. 

I got halfway through and put it down, abandoning it. Fast forward many years later and I'm almost embarrassed that I haven't read it, it's that popular. So after much ballyhoo and trash talk, I picked it up this weekend and tried again.

This time around? I liked it. Go figure.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Beach Redux

Another trip to the beach this weekend.

Glorious weather. Sunny days. Cool nights. We spent gobs of time sitting on the beach, soaking up some rays (with sunscreen carefully applied and reapplied), listening to squawking seagulls fight over food, and getting sprayed with sand as the people next to us shook out their towels upwind.

The Man was fast asleep when he got pelted with the sand. He yelped and the people doing the shaking stared in horror as they realized what they had done. They were so apologetic. And then the Man apologized because he might have scared a little kid or two when he yelped.

They packed up and left pretty quickly after that. So did the Man.
Sissy, her girls and I headed out a day before everyone else so we could have extra time at the beach. We spent some of that time visiting with my uncle, enjoying a few dinners with him, a couple bottles of wine, and half a dozen bags of flavored kettle corn.

Swapping stories. Making memories. Enjoying time spent with ones we love. And laughing. 

It's good for the soul.
After dinner Saturday night, we took a ride over to the public beach. The kids always like to go over, act silly, take pictures, look for seals and maybe a shark or two.

Typical Saturday night.
E is on the left. 

She can not jump. She tries and tries but she just can't get both feet off the ground. It became a personal challenge for her to try and do it.

I took a lot of photos trying to get one with all their legs kicked back.

Didn't happen. Better luck next time.
I love watching these girls spend time together. The older they get, the more precious time is becoming. Schedules and other things take over and these moments get fewer and fewer.

But just for this weekend? They got to spend time together and make some memories.

My heart is full.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Scandinavie: Oslo, Day One continued

Totally Totally enamored with all the knit goods.
Walking around Oslo, found a quiet road in front of the building where Parliament meets. The lion reminded me of the one in front of the New York Public Library.
More knits.
Wool felted slippers. They look so cozy and warm. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Scandinavia: Oslo, Day One

Got to travel with my girlies to Scandinavia - Norway and Sweden this time. We chose to visit three cities: Oslo, Bergen, and Stockholm.

We spent the first three nights in Oslo. The apartment we rented was beautiful and within walking distance of the city centre. Super convenient. And it had such a gorgeous view of Oslo's skyline. We enjoyed sitting outside on the patio at night to enjoy it.

There was a bit of time that first day to explore the local area while we waited for the others to arrive. Three of us live close to each other so we traveled together. The other two weren't coming in for a few hours so after the owner showed us around the apartment she graciously offered to drive us to the nearby market so we could pick up some groceries.

It was right around the corner. 

The three of us had fun walking around the store, examining different food products and checking out prices. We picked up crackers, sardines, cheese, some fruit and a few other finger foods so we had something for the other two to eat when they arrived.

We easily found our way home seeing as it was about 50 yards from the store. 
I love Scandinavian decor and style. 

Very clean and crisp and white. The little amount of color really stands out against all the white. We discovered they use so much white to help make up for the many hours of darkness in the winter. Every little bit of light helps..
We picked up a couple bottles of wine at the duty free shop at the airport when we landed. We had read that alcohol is a bit expensive and harder to find than in the U.S. The recommendation was to get some at the airport and carry it with you.

Okay. We can do that. 

~~~~~~~~~~

We didn't have to carry it far. It was almost gone the first night.
This photo was taken about 10:00PM

Crazy light out.

The sky never really got dark. The sun must set just below the horizon so it only ever got dusky looking. And it was bright again by 3:00AM. I can't tell you how many mornings I woke up in a bit of a panic thinking I had overslept only to look at my watch and discover it was 3:00-3:30AM. It's a great feeling to be able to go back to sleep for that long.

The windows had darkening shades that we would pull down when we went to bed. The light didn't really bother me - I can sleep almost anywhere. But I appreciated them all the same.
This was taken about 11:30PM. I darkened the photo a bit to make the city lights pop out. It was a bit lighter at that time than this photo appears.

I loved all the light but I know the flip side happens in the winter and there's mega hours of darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~

Life is full of trade-offs.



Monday, August 8, 2016

My Little Corner of Paris




Just a few vignettes from my back porch.

I found these wrapped flower bouquets at a local craft store and fell in love with them. I had the fruit basket at home and put together a darling little flower shop by the back door. I put a price tag on them just in case someone thinks they're free for the taking.

I'm not taking any chances. 7 euro per bouquet.
The Man made this for me several years ago. I just freshened it up with some new blooms. 

I cut them too short so they pop right out as soon as there's a good breeze. I've been chasing these flowers around all summer, finding them on the floor of the porch, in the flower beds, out in the middle of the yard, next to the stone wall.

These are some athletic flowers.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunny Rays, Beachy Days

Got a chance to spend some time at the beach with Sissy and the girls. We had some mighty fine weather - lots of sun, warm breezes, and the best waves we've ever seen. 

We spent so much time in the water, body surfing and jumping the waves and getting tumbled around, that the polish on my nails wore off. Sand is a terrific exfoliant and nail file. I'll have to go to the salon for another pedicure. Oh, what a bother. Ha.

K and I were body surfing one of the bigger waves and we got carried all the way in to where the wave was breaking in the surf. Both of us tried to stand up  and got immediately knocked down by the next wave. This happened about a half dozen times and it got harder and harder to stand up because we were laughing so hard. There was no undertow at all so we weren't in any danger but the Man told me later that he had watched us floundering around in the surf, ready to step in if we needed him.

My superhero.

I didn't ask him who he would rescue first. Not sure I want to hear that answer. Princess K ranks pretty high on his scale of favorite people in the world.
Cousin love.

It does my heart good to see them like this. Despite the age difference between them, they laugh together, tease each other, and still have fun when we gather. We spent a lot of time on the beach this trip. Sometimes the pesky little gnats get to us and chase us off but there was enough wind that they weren't a bother. 

Lots of people on the beach that night. We got to see a large herd of seals playing around in the water. The group kept getting larger and larger as more and more seals would come along.

Gulp. That means there are sharks around. Double gulp. 

No swimming at that beach for me.
Love the arm movement in these two photos, above and below.

K should have been an actress. She's very dramatic, that one.
Salty.

Ha.

That's an understatement.
Girly love. 

My heart is full.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Easter Greetings

K and I both had Good Friday off so we hit the road for our "we-go-once-every-three-years" trip to IKEA.

It was worth the wait. But I forgot how quickly all those little can't-live-without-them items add up. And I forgot how easy it is to discover all those things you didn't even know you needed until you saw them.

Like the sweet little white hanging baskets in these photos.

I can't stop looking at them - they are so darling. The lacy edges, the rounded bottoms, and those pretty pink button daisies. Simply darling.
We had a fun day, K and I. Swiss chocolate. Shopping and lunch. 

And some excitement. Oh boy, did we have some excitement.

~~~~~~~~~~

After leaving IKEA, we were pretty hungry and decided we wanted Mexican food for lunch. K immediately went to yelp and found a restaurant with a high rating just ten minutes away. It sounded great so off we went.

As we drove, the roads got more and more rundown. Potholes. Frost heaves. Worn paint. The housing got more and more rundown. Broken windows, faded paint, missing shingles. And the cars got more and more rundown. Parts missing. Bald tires. Mirrors hanging off the side doors.

And graffiti. Lots of graffiti. Not good.

"Are you sure this got a high rating?" I asked skeptically, looking around the neighborhoods we were driving through.

"It did, MOTHER," she said, not sounding confident at all. We kept driving along, following the GPS directions. "We've got three minutes to our destination. It's got to start cleaning up soon," said K.

It didn't clean up. We got closer and closer to our destination and realized it wasn't going to get any better.    

"We'll just do a drive-by and see what it looks like, " said K. I quickly agreed.

So we drove by and the restaurant looked sketchy. Really sketchy. We decided we weren't going to stop so I kept going. 

Except now we didn't know where we were going. So I pulled over to give us a chance to regroup and come up with plan B. We parked on the side of the road at a four way stop intersection. While K was looking at yelp again, I was looking out the window, watching someone walking along the road. 

"Mother! Stop staring!" said K. 

"I'm not staring. I'm people watching," I replied, indignantly. 

"Well, don't. You don't know what you might see," she informed me curtly. And she was absolutely right. We weren't in the best neighborhood and it was probably wiser to keep my eyes down. I started the car and we decided to head out of the city and stop for lunch somewhere else.

As I was driving away, I realized the student has become the teacher and my daughter is a wise young woman indeed.
We had some laughs about our adventure all the way home. She told me I was like Mr. Magoo, walking around the world with a rather naive view of the danger around me.

I was surprised to hear this.

I didn't even know she knew who Mr. Magoo was.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Colored Focus

Winter sunsets are beautiful.
End of winter sunsets are even more beautiful, don't you think?

The sky is still crisp and the colors still vibrant. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I love silhouettes. They help me see the forest for the trees. I can focus on something that I might have passed over - shapes, contours, framing. 

The details.

Silhouettes are all about details.
So K and I have been hooked on watching old episodes of the X-Files. Good golly, there's a lot of episodes. Most of them are manageable, i.e. we don't get too scared. But recently we've run into a couple episodes that are super scary. And freaky.

We watched one of those last night. We kept looking at each other, staring in disbelief at how naive some of the characters are. 

Don't they know NOT to go into 600 acres of woods when the sun is going down?!

Don't they know not to attempt to break into a house when they know there are three crazy people living in the house?!

Don't they know not to go down a deserted alley in the middle of the night, having chased something into it?!

Don't they know that normal people don't have glowing red eyes?!

We got so freaked out we started getting jumpy at every little sound the house made. We got so jumpy that we decided we had watched enough and needed to go to bed.

Gulp.

That means we have to turn the lights out. We kept a close eye on each other and ran around the house together, locking doors and shutting off lights. 

~~~~~~~~~~

We can't watch these scary ones unless the Man is awake with us. We are not tough stuff. We are fluff stuff.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Candle in the Window, or finding our way home

I was coming around the main desk at the library one day last week and discovered a young man-child about the age of four heading out the front door, crying inconsolably. Just as he was heading out the door, he looked up at me and made eye contact. He stopped and just stood there, looking at me and crying.

"Hey, now, what's this, young mister?" I stooped down and asked him.

"I can't find my mommy," he wailed and cried even harder.

"Well, you come with me and we'll go find her," I reassured him, and held out my hand to see if he wanted to hold it. Nope. He wasn't having any of that.

I started walking down the hallway and he followed me. I kept talking to him and asking him simple questions to try and find out where he was when he last saw his mom. He cried the entire way down the hallway and up the short set of stairs leading to the Internet computers, which is where most adults end up while their children play in the children's department.

I looked around and saw two people - an old man and a young lady of a different nationality than the man-child. But I didn't want to make any assumptions so I said, "I don't see mommy here. Can you look and see if you can find her?"

The man-child glanced around, saw the same two people I did and looked at me like, you idiot, those two aren't my mother. So we turned around, walked back down the hallway and headed upstairs to the  children's area with him crying and wailing the entire way.

As we started up the stairs, his momma heard him crying and met us at the top of the staircase.

"I'm right here, sweetheart!" she said. As soon as he caught sight of her, he raced up the rest of the stairs and threw himself into her arms. He hugged his momma tightly and then reared back, wound up an arm, and hauled off and hit her across the legs.

"WHERE WERE YOU??" he cried, flailing at her and crying even harder. She talked to him softly, hugging him as best she could while he spent himself out. She mouthed her gratitude to me and I left them to their reconciliation.

~~~~~~~~~~

The entire drive home I thought about this incident. And I thought this is the way we treat God when we wander away from Him. We look for Him in all the wrong places and flail about, frustrated and angry and scared. When we finally do find Him, we discover it wasn't Him that moved but us. And then we get mad at Him for it. Oh, how wrong we are. He's been right there, waiting for us to come back to Him.

Thank you, man-child, for opening my eyes.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's All About Me, Not!



Today was my day to get beautified. 

And taxified. But that's not a fun story so I'm not telling that one.
My colorist, who happens to be my good friend T, works at a shop on a main road leading into town. The shop has gorgeous windows looking out to the road and while she works on my hair we look out at the weather, or traffic, or emergency vehicles and feel like Mrs. Kravitz spying on the neighbors.
T was about half way through applying my color and a big, long 18-wheeler pulled up outside the shop and stopped, completely blocking the driveway.

Two men got out and went to the front of the truck, lifted the hood, and started looking around. 

Uh-oh.

They've blocked us all in. I can't be blocked in. I have to leave soon. I have an appointment with our accountant to give him our tax papers.

I fretted about it for a little bit, wondering how long they were going to be stuck there. The other women in the shop kept speculating that I might be trapped for a long while, since the hood was still up and the men were deeply embedded into the engine looking around and tapping things.

After thinking about it for a few more minutes, I jumped out of the chair and told T I was going out to find out how long they were going to be there.

She laughed as I flew out the door.
I walked down to the road and over to the {very} big engine area. The two men looked up. Their eyes got wide.

"Are you going to be here long?" I asked. 

"Just a few minutes, ma'am," they said, just staring at me.

"Okay, then," I said, as I turned around and walked back toward the shop.
T was still laughing when I got back inside. And then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Oh, boy.

Color half applied means my hair was sticking up ALL OVER THE PLACE. Foamy goo applied liberally. T had just waxed my eyebrows so my forehead was red and irritated, tiny pieces of wax still stuck to my eyebrow area. And I'm wearing a vinyl black poncho.

Good golly.

No wonder the two men left so quickly.

~~~~~~~~~~

I made it to my tax appointment on time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Snow Day Musings


A few scenes from the storm last week. 

Heavy, wet snow. J, K, and I cleared the driveway before the Man got home from work. He was a happy fellow. We were a tired family.

~~~~~~~~~~

The snow fell all day long, slowing down about two in the afternoon. 

"Let's go clear the driveway, guys!" I said, looking out the window and seeing only a few flakes fall helter skelter to the ground. "This is going to take a while since it's going to be heavy."

"No, it's not," said J and K in unison. "It's light and fluffy. It won't take long to shovel. We'll go out later," they said, not even looking up from their electronic devices.

"No. It's going to be heavy. Look at the temperature. It's fairly warm so there's a lot of moisture in the air which means heavy, wet snow. Out, now!" I may have said a bit firmly.

Grumbling, they got ready to go outside. I got out there first and started shoveling. Heavy, wet snow. Just as I had suspected. J got the snowblower going. But not before he broke the pull cord. Gulp. Don't let that snowblower stop running or we're shoveling the whole driveway by hand, J.

I know, he said. And he kept it going.

K finally came out and took her first shovelful. 

This is really heavy, she said, grimacing at me. I might have said, I told you so

When are they going to listen to their momma?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Blues

Normally this time of winter the doldrums have set in. 

But not this year.

Milder than usual temperatures, coupled with very little snow, has made for a doldrum-free winter. And since we're halfway through February, I'm feeling kind of perky. 

~~~~~~~~~~

K and Sissy and I took a trip north this weekend to a {rather} large knitting shop. We wandered around with our project sheets for a couple hours, matching yarns and patterns and needle sizes and feels. It has to feel right or it won't get worn.

I came out with yarn for two projects, K gathered enough for three projects and Sissy found some yarn to start an outrageously colorful afghan. A very successful trip.

Right now, K is sitting on the couch working on a knitted skirt for herself and I'm working on a cabled and ribbed poncho for me. The guys are in bed and we're watching the "X-Files". We knit happily along until the scary parts and then we jump and lose some stitches. 

Gah. It's hard to multi-task.